India successfully launched a satellite today, which will be shared by seven countries in the South Asian region to improve communication services. "We are very proud of them", PM Modi has tweeted. After Pakistan declined to participate, it includes the rest of South Asian neighbours: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, The Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Pakistan had opted out of the South Asia Satellite project which aims to boost the connectivity among SAARC nations.
Friday's launch will enable the new satellite to provide telecommunications, disaster management and weather forecasting services, among others.
Hasina said with the launching of South Asia Satellite, Bangladesh and India have expanded connectivity from land, water and air to space. The mission life of the satellite is said to be 12 years, but it has been created to last well beyond the deadline.
An Indian rocket with the over two tonne satellite or GSAT-9, meant to address the region's "economic and developmental priorities", blasted off from the Sriharikota spaceport on Friday evening.
GSLV-F09 mission is the eleventh flight of GSLV and its fourth consecutive flight with the indigenous cryogenic upper stage (CUS).
In achieving this goal, I congratulate the space science fraternity of India, and in particular the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
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The geo-stationary satellite, weighing 2,230 kg at lift-off, has 12 Ku-band transponders which South Asian countries are expected to utilise for their own needs. Costing around Rs 235 crore, the satellite was initially known as the SAARC satellite.
"Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas (Together, development for all)", Maldives President Yameen Abdul Gayoom said, wrapping up his speech in a reference to what PM Modi has called is the fundamental tenet of his government.
The President exuded confidence that the project will promote friendship and cooperation and help further cement ties between India and it neighbours.
This is first of its kind project in South Asia. "On May 5, India will launch the South Asia Satellite". All South Asian countries, excluding Pakistan, are part of this project.
In his remarks, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani noted that South Asia was one of the least integrated regions in the world.
The satellite is the pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who first proposed the satellite after on 30 June, 2014, just four weeks after coming into power and witnessing the successful launch of five satellites on board the PSLV-c23.
In a stunning development, India completely isolated Pakistan among the Saarc countries on Friday, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding a joint video conference with the leaders of all Saarc countries minus Pakistan on the occasion of the successful launch of the South Asian Satellite.